Alfie's Play Station Portable (PSP) wasn't working - this was really serious. I did all the usual checks: on off on off, bang it on the table; nothing. ‘Where’s Daddy?’ he whispered.
A cacophony of shrieking had me charging to the front room where the other three were sprawled, taking a well-earned rest from breakfast. ‘The telly’s gone blank!’ they cried, gutted it was only me. 'We need Daddy!' I chose one of the seventeen units which Alan keeps lined up to show what he’s achieved in life, and started pushing buttons, giving a pretty mean impersonation of someone who knows how to switch the TV on. ‘WRONG UNIT! GOD MUMMY! WHERE’S DADDY?’
I'll admit to being slightly electronically challenged; but if I spent as many hours as my children fiddling around with handsets and remotes, I'd be a genius at it too! I assume. Instead, my time is spent doing more constructive things like...cleaning up, and...putting things away...
I went back where I belonged in the kitchen to do something better suited to my skill set: School bags! The girls were too busy face-booking the previous night to lift their lunch boxes out of their schoolbags, so I’m in there, down amongst the mobiles and screwed up homework sheets, when I skewer a lump of slush, which turns out to be a kiwi, with my finger. Aaaaargh. I was starting to mumble and grunt 'Lazy pigs...take me for granted...'
I needed to get out before I really started ranting, so bagged a plum job: take Bonnie and chum to Brownie Sleepover, point being it was a half hour drive, return trip child-free, Radio 4 hello! I spun a yarn about how Bonnie was going to miss me, ha ha, so I needed to go to say goodbye, and set off with the girls. Alan programmed the satnav for me because I haven't learnt to do it yet, hmmm, and he's hidden the good old map book somewhere it won't embarrass him.
As soon as we set off, I discovered that the children had hilariously programmed the satnav to german. Still, I managed to follow the arrows on the liquid crystal display (rather cleverly I thought) to the finishing post, except it was a Ladbrookes, not the gothic mansion we’d envisaged ('Northern Heights')peeping through the dark forests of yore. I tried to re-programme the German guy who came up with a whole new set of flow diagramz easily detzipherable if you’d recently revized your metaphysicz, but offering simple folk like me nothing remotely comprehensible, like ‘get me to Northern Heights half an hour ago, cleverdick’. We were back at Ladbrookes, and the punters there were useless at directions too - because they all use satnav! A chant of ‘Late! Late! Late!’ from the back seat kept my blood pressure in the danger zone as I PUNCHED in the post code another 15 times, hoping Mr G would come up with something new before lights out in the dorm.
Eventually Mr G got it (oh that WD6 3RG!) and we screeched to a halt at the correct venue, where the entire Brownie pack were waiting for us to arrive so they could start the jolly japes. I ripped the satnav out; I could still get my Radio 4 moment on the return journey. But guess what, Mr G wouldn't switch off, and directed me all ze way home. 'Where's Daddy?' I said, when I got there. 'I want that map book back in the car!'